Sunday, 19 August 2012

Further adventures in Sir Walter Scott

And so I've gone to the same bookshop that I went to last week. It is the Churchill Antiques in the Coinage Hall, Boscawen Street, Truro. I saw the proprietor again and he recognised me at once. But you don't get many people my age in this sort of place, so I suppose it was natural. Also, Cornish people are more personal than Londoners.

Today there was this bag stack of red hardback books by Sir Walter Scott on a table that weren't there last week. Oh my eyes feasted on them! They're the Waverley Novels, Centenary edition, which means they were published in 1871. £7.50 each, quite affordable and reasonable. He tried to sell me 3 for the price of 4, but I pointed out they were too heavy to lug all the way to London, where I'll be moving for the start of term. So he said he could sell me two for 12, then "no, make that 10!" It was too good an offer to refuse, so I asked him to recommend to me and he chose Kenilworth and St Ronan's Well.  He seemed pleased to see me buy another 2 books (!) and we parted on decent terms.

Kenilworth and St Ronan's Well. Not very famous works. but  the former is underrated. 

I like the prety embossed pattern on the front. Not quite the same  class as a genuine leather but still not bad.

Anyway I asked the owner for his business card. His name is Jonathan Clifford. He loves buying up biographies of 20th century politicians in the UK (it's his hobby) so if you are into it, you could try contacting him. The place also has Victorian photos and stamps. There are numerous books on Cornwall and its landscapes and history (how local!)

Beside this shop is Charlotte's Tea House, where I had my first Cornish tea, though without the tea as it was a hot day. I had a banana milkshake instead. The food is a scone which comes with strawberry jam and clotted cream which looks a lot like paler butter. By the way if you pass by a café selling ice cream made of clotted cream try it. Much creamier than most ice-cream in London. I shall grow fat soon. Sigh ....

Afterwards, I went to Waterstone's and bought the Penguin Clothbound Edition of Mansfield Park for £15. I am resolved to vindicate Fanny Price, despite having been formerly anti-Austen. The reason I was anti-Austen wasn't so much that I actually hated Austen, but because of those silly Austenites who keep on hammering my beloved Brontë sisters and asserting Austen's perfect superiority. Well, both have their goodness and  flaws and can't we keep a civilised tongue in here?! In any case I prefer the Brontës' exceptional inspiration to Austen's perfection. Though that's an acquired taste.

Speaking of which yesterday I took the bus to Falmouth and went to Falmouth Bookseller's where they sold a Penguin Classics (an older version, this was before the sleak black jackets) edition of The Bride of Lammermoor, said to be Scott's most psychologically compelling work.  I must say Edgar Ravenswood seems rather attractive, and he reminds me of Mr Rochester in a way. Strange, because I can't stand Mr Rochester. For a Brontëite I prefer Austen's heroes. Yes, seriously. Because they're real. I like Edward Ferrars, Captain Wentworth and I suspect I will come to like Edmund Bertram. No Darcy, please - everyone out there seems to want to get into his pants.

I am now drinking a curious concoction of instant milk tea mixed with hazelnut drink to keep me awake. Stay tuned for my further forays into the secondhand bookworld. Gah, don't know what to do tomorrow. I'll probably go to Lanhydrock Castle. Only thing, the buses there are so infrequent. I like do miss the hustle and bustle of London life (and the restaurants that close later). How on earth do you get the dinner crowd if you close so early???

1 comment:

  1. Scott's novels from the 19th century! I live in Scotland, but there is no antique bookshop nearby where I could get his novels so cheap.

    I've been following for a while and always enjoying your posts!